Just today another incident came up that once again strengthened my opinion in the value of having company mandated standard software organization wide.
Here was the incident:
We recieved a template to label the buttons on our phone handsets from one of our vendors that just didn't quite fit and line up when I printed it from Microsoft Word. One of our techs spent a bit of time getting this to line up just perfect. (you know the time it takes, nudge here, print, nudge there...) After he was all done I said "Hey I want that" to avoid going through that row again. But we realized it still didn't line up when printed from Office and found our tech had used OpenOffice! (ironically OpenOffice is not on our approved list of software at Landis Computer)
Lesson learned? (No, not that OpenOffice or Office is junk! ;-)
#1-Most import is having a standard package that management mandates to eliminate the above type of time wasting replicated throughout your business.
#2-Yes, MS Office costs, but my reason for favoring Microsoft Office over other products is because of the cross-organization time savings you will see. You can also leverage existing training your people will invaribly have not to mention support sources on the web.
On last arguement for having organization mandated software is that it can avoid BSA software audit nightmares. Lets say you let all your employees install whatever software they want on their business pc's. Did you know that if there are any licensing issues you are responsible?
To see more on BSA software audits see my post here:
Our whole incident likely will consume 1 hour to cause and fix. But replicate that times 12 employees? Times how many times a week? $200-$300 for MS Office starts sounding cheap...
My advice to business owners: mandate a standard set of software today.